2014] BOOK REVIEWS 309
1493: UNCOVERING THE NEW WORLD COLUMBUS
REVIEWED BY MAJOR A. JASON NEF*
They were doing the work of the centuries. They were
agents of humankind’s unending quest to enlace its most
far-flung members in a single skein, a journey whose
endpoints the travelers have rarely been able to
In 1492, the world changed forever when Columbus stumbled across
the Americas and inadvertently introduced globalization to the world.3
The changes that followed this historic event remain with us over five
hundred years later. The significance of Charles Mann’s 1493 is the
perspective it gives of that history. The author offers a broad view of the
scale and scope of the changes brought by the sudden “turbulent
exchange of goods and services that today engulfs the entire habitable
world.”4 At its heart, 1493 is about globalization, a well-worn topic. Yet
it stands out from other writings with its focus on the origins of
globalization and its impact on early participants. 1493 also contains
important lessons for leaders to consider. The book provides excellent
examples of how leaders influence and shape the future through their
action or inaction, for better or worse, and deserves a spot on the military
reader’s professional-development bookshelf.
* Judge Advocate, U.S. Army. Presently assigned as Senior Defense Counsel, Fort
1 CHARLES C. MANN, 1493: UNCOVERING THE NEW WORLD COLUMBUS CREATED (2011).
2 Id. at 521.
3 The discovery of America was an accident due, in part, to Columbus’s miscalculation
of the sea-route to China. Christopher Columbus is not the focus of this book. His forays
into the Western Hemisphere are the catalyst for the story, but not the story itself. The
author provides many important details of Columbus’s life but does not offer a
comprehensive biography. See generally id. at 1–23.
4 Id. at 7.